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Coffee and culture: Gallery Cafe

Coffee Shop

Coffee shop manager Stephen Heppell at Gallery Cafe. Photo: Rhiannon Bury

In a quiet back street in Bethnal Green lies the Gallery Café, a small, friendly
establishment that doubles as a unique art space. Manager Stephen Heppell has been in charge for a year, and works alongside the team from St Margaret’s House Settlement, a charity that provided practical initiatives, projects and activities to serve and enable the local community.

He explains: “All the food is vegan or vegetarian, and all the profit goes to charity. We have a real variety of people coming in, with a young trendy crowd at weekends.

“We want to be a space for the community, not just a café. We’ve got some great things going on: a free knitting club, poetry nights, and the art on the walls changes every month. Wednesday and Friday nights are music nights.

The café is also part of Time Out’s First Thursdays, when it opens its doors to people to view art out of hours. Almost all of the activities that it facilitates are free.

“It’s a really friendly place to come, we have lots of regulars and there’s always a nice community atmosphere. It opened originally ten years ago and its always been a really friendly place to come: it’s not about making loads of money, it’s about bringing people together.”

Sarah Schulman, a student who is a regular at the café said: “It’s good food, there’s free internet and it’s a lovely light room. I usually end up staying all afternoon.”

The Gallery Café is open seven days a week, until late when there is something on.

www.stmargaretshouse.org.uk/gallery-cafe/gallery-cafe

020 8980 2092

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